Bishop Finn Guilty

In waiving a jury trial, Bishop Finn and his lawyers placed the case before a judge. One guilty conviction resulted. Two years probation with suspended sentence. Eight conditions of the probation must be maintained, and after those two years, the bishop’s criminal record may be expunged. At this hour, a fair amount of detail here. The only conditions I see are training for the bishop, a clergy institute for the diocese, and a $10,000 fund for victims.

Following the internet coverage live was a bit surreal.

I suspect some of my friends in Kansas City will be disappointed. And I have to measure my own inner furor, against the reasonable thought that my former bishop has learned a deep lesson that his St Louis career did not prepare him for. But the reality is that Shawn Ratigan was a watcher, and it seems that young girls were spared the potential brutality of rape. Even so, my daughter and her peers were certainly affected by this. I hope one condition is the personal confrontation with those whose faith has been damaged from all this. What can an individual possibly say to rebuild the spiritual damage? The damage to himself as a bishop. As a priest. As a faith leader. The damage to young people’s faith.

Speaking for myself, I would tend to not trust my inner glee at seeing a bishop go to jail. Philadelphia was a bit more serious, though. If Cardinal Bevilacqua were still alive, perhaps not so much distrust there.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Bishop Finn Guilty

  1. John Doe says:

    “I would tend to not trust my inner glee at seeing a bishop go to jail”

    I think feeling glee at anyone’s going to jail casts serious doubt on your commitment to leading a Christian life.

    • Todd says:

      Meh. Not likely.

      Indulging sin with a clear sense of knowing is a particular problem, but one I avoided in this instance. Even if I were to have experienced inner gladness over a person’s just punishment, it’s just one sin. Not an excommunicatable offense. If I discern and get over it, probably no lasting effects on my overall commitment to following Jesus, which I’ve managed to do for forty-two years so far.

      But yes, I think three million incarcerated Americans is indeed a serious flaw in our national make-up. No glee on that score, my friend.

    • Liam says:

      That would also include being pleased about anyone receiving a penalty, civil or ecclesiastical.

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    It think it is called by pleased that justice is being served. If Finn had been a layman, do you think he would have gotten off so easily?

  3. FrMichael says:

    Jimmy Mac: “If Finn had been a layman, do you think he would have gotten off so easily?”

    Yes. I reported a case of child molestation to the local authorities a few weeks ago. It turns out that a social worker working in the housing project knew about the situation and failed to report it as a mandatory reporter. Absolutely nothing happened to her.

    I, for one, am disappointed that Bishop Finn is not spending some time behind bars. He damned well deserved it given what he knew and it would have been a salutary lesson for the rest of the US episcopate.

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